Two Ideas for Stand-up Meetings

I overheard two great ideas about stand-up meetings. The first one is from Dave Snowden. He observed that certain sessions weren’t going as effectively as they could. The participants were talking about irrelevant things, and the very important “what needs to be really done?” question wasn’t properly addressed during these meetings. Therefore, he suggested adding, or completely replacing the original three questions with this one: “What do I want to do instead?”

If there is a meaningful answer to this question, then the Scrum Team is doing something different from what it is supposed to do. I didn’t have the chance to talk to Dave about this in more detail, but here is my interpretation: a Scrum Sprint is a really focused event, and a Scrum Team is supposed to be a highly disciplined small organization. If a member of such a team in an environment like this is doing something other than what she wants to do, then either something is wrong with the Sprint or the level of discipline is not high enough. Therefore, this is something the Scrum Team has to talk about.

The other idea comes from Liz Keogh. She observed that when a meeting started with the phrase “who wants to go first?”, it turned into a status meeting. Somehow that phrase turned on the “I need to report” part of the brain, and from that point the meeting was meaningless from the Scrum point of view. Actually, this makes sense, and if I look back and think about the early stand-up meetings we had, the ones that started with a long silence were much better and more effective than those where we asked somebody specific to start.

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